Do you think South African rap is maturing, to a degree?
I think the main thing I dig about South African rap is that it’s fresh and different. With Afrikaans rap, it’s a new thing – there’s not that many examples out there so everybody has to kind of invent their own style. I think that’s one of the big reasons that it’s blowing up, because people are finding it interesting and different.
You don’t think it could be a passing fad.
I’m always scared of that, that it could just be this little internet thing. You can’t put all your hopes on shit like this. But I’ve worked hard on building my own brand, and my own business, and we’re doing really well. We’re bringing out clothes and stuff soon. It’s going to be rrrrad.
Does that mean we’re going to see some oversize hats at the merch table?
I want to, man, that’s obviously a gold mine. But I can’t get anybody to make it. They’re telling me that you need to invent some special way to reinforce it so the bill doesn’t droop. But don’t worry, I’ll get it.
What’s the story behind the hat, anyway?
We were pretty much drunk and talking kak. I was like “I want to be like a cartoon hero rapper” and my friend Richard suggested we make a super long hat, and then we just did it and it looked cool. That was it.
Do you wear it around Cape Town or only at gigs?
Just at gigs. I try to be undercover, it’s all too f*#king heavy for me. I’m really a super-shy person. I just like making rap music and it kind of blew up. I’ve gotten used to it, but it gets too much for me sometimes. I don’t like being in the spotlight too much.
What about the mainstream Afrikaans music, like Steve Hofmeyer or Snotkop. Do you relate to that at all?
Not at all. I take them out constantly, man. That’s the real Zef right there, without even trying. They always give me crap because I swear and sh*t, and they try to be all f*#king Christian meanwhile they’re snorting lines behind the f*#king stage and they come out on and pray to Jesus and all this sh*t. It’s just kak music. They are one of the reasons people were embarassed to say they were Afrikaans. They didn’t want to be connected to those f*#king idiots.
When you said before that Afrikaans is dying, is that true? Are people speaking the language less?
I don’t think so now, between me and new rock bands like Fokofpolisiekar (translation: F*#k Off, Police Car), we kind of made it cool again. Now it’s coming back. But before, people were scared of saying they were Afrikaans. It was like saying you were German after World War II or something. The connotation was racism and Apartheid. People automatically said, if you’re Afrikaans, you’re a racist, you’re the ones that made South Africa kak. Which is un-f*#king-true. Afrikaans is just a language.
You’ve become kind of a sensation in Dutch-speaking places like the Netherlands and Belgium, right?
Yeah f*#k, its crazy there, they can understand Afrikaans so they like it. The album is doing really well in Belgium. We played 23 shows there in 23 days and they were almost all sold out. There were people who followed us and came to every show. I’m going again at the end of the month. I just don’t want to tour that much, I enjoy making music more. I was actually supposed to come tour with Ke$ha in the States, but it was going to be too heavy for me playing stadiums and touring for 4 months.
You’re telling me you turned down a tour with Ke$ha?
I was also going to lose a lot of money. Opening acts have to pay for everything themselves these days. But I turn down a lot of tours. I mean it’s cool if you wanna be super famous but that’s not really my thing. I just want to make some money and make some music and wanna be on the irie vibe. I don’t want to be like some superstar with like f*#king seventeen Lamborghinis and sh*t like that.
So does that mean you are Cape Town for life?
Hos ja. This is my spot, I would never leave. It’s just such a chilled-out place. I love it here.
Photos courtesy of Jack Parow